Down sank the baleful crimson sun,
The northern light came out,
And glared upon the ice-bound ships,
And shook its spears about.
Sir John, the night is black and long,
The hissing wind is bleak,
The hard, green ice as strong as death:—
I prithee, Captain, speak!
The night is neither bright nor short,
The singing breeze is cold,—
The ice is not so strong as hope,
The heart of man is bold!
(from: "A Ballad of Sir John Franklin" by G.H. Boker)
This is either the HMS Erebus
or the HMS Terror
, a 19th century exploration vessel. Both these ships left England on the ill-fated Franklin Expedition
Sir John Franklin hoped to navigate through the so-called Northwest Passage in the Arctic. But in the Victoria Strait, both ships became trapped in ice. The crew waited two and a half years for the ice to thaw but that did not happen. So in April 1848 they decided to abandon the ships and were not heard from again. No single man made it back home to England. It is assumed that they died from disease, food poisoning and starvation. From relics found by search expeditions later it was concluded that the last survivors eventually resorted to cannibalism.Franklin's Lost Expedition - on wikipedia
It is pure Hollywood drama, and I'm astonished the story has not been made into a movie yet. I have, however, read a chilling (no pun intended) novel about it: The Terror
, by Dan Simmons.
This was a new challenge for me - I wanted to paint a scene without any people in it.
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